NFL Week 15 Predictions & Best Bets: Chargers vs Chiefs, Saints vs Panthers & More

  • Week 14 was a step back for the Locks of the Week.
  • I’m still over $600 in the black for the season, though.
  • Week 15 brings a slew of intriguing games with significant playoff implications.

My magical run came to an abrupt halt in Week 14. The Bengals finally showed some life, easily covering against the Chargers as two-touchdown ‘dogs (26-21), while Jets vs Bills soared past the 38.5 game total (27-24) and Colts vs Texans ended well under 49.5 (24-21).

Here’s the full accounting ahead of Week 15…

  • “Locks of the Week” 2018 ROI: +$634.76 (based on $100 wagers)
  • Week 14 ROI: -$300.00

Week 15 starts with a banger as the Chargers and Chiefs meet on Thursday Night Football. KC can seal the AFC West and a first-round bye with a win. The weekend games start a little earlier than usual with the Texans/Jets and Browns/Broncos on Saturday, Dec. 15th.

Get picks and predictions for every game, below, followed by the Locks of the Week at the tail end. Remember, the Locks are the only games I recommend putting real money on.

Los Angeles Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs

Time & Date: 5:20 PM ET, Thursday, Dec. 13th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Chargers +3.0 (+110) +157 O 53.0 (-110)
Chiefs -3.0 (-130) -177 U 53.0 (-110)

Neither the Chargers (10-3, 5-1 away) or Chiefs (11-2, 6-0 home) played their best last week, but both were good enough to win. Now the Chargers can move into a tie atop the division (although they’d lose the tiebreaker based on division record). One small problem: KC has won 9 straight in the series. They’re also 6-0 at home on the year. A field-goal is a small price to pay to get on the right side of those trends.

Score Prediction: 30-24 Chiefs

Best Bet: Chiefs -3.0 (-130)

Houston Texans vs New York Jets

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, Dec. 15th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Texans -6.0 (-110) -260 O 41.5 (-105)
Jets +6.0 (-110) +220 U 41.5 (-115)

Houston (9-4, 4-2 away) had its nine-game win streak staunched by the Colts last week (24-21) while the Jets (4-9, 2-4 home) ended their own six-game skid. A sign of things to come? Hardly. The Texans’ defense will get back on track against a severely limited New York offense.

The Jets only managed 248 total yards in last week’s win over the Bills and they only left Buffalo with a W because the defense generated three key takeaways. Deshaun Watson hasn’t thrown an INT in three straight games.

Score Prediction: 24-14 Texans

Best Bet: Texans -6.0 (-110)

Cleveland Browns vs Denver Broncos

Time & Date: 5:20 PM ET, Saturday, Dec. 15th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Browns +3.5 (-120) +160 O 44.5 (-110)
Broncos -3.5 (EVEN) -180 U 44.5 (-110)

The offense for the Broncos (6-7, 3-3 home) looked abysmal in its first game without Emmanuel Sanders (a 20-14 loss to San Francisco) and the defense was lit up by Nick Mullens, George Kittel and the 49ers without top cornerback Chris Harris.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns (5-7-1, 1-5 away) have been pretty terrible outside of Cleveland, but they proved in Cincinnati that they can beat bad teams on the road. That might be what the Broncos are now, so I’d lay the points and take the team that’s trending in the right direction.

Score Prediction: 21-20 Browns

Best Bet: Browns +3.5 (-120)

Oakland Raiders vs Cincinnati Bengals

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Raiders +3.0 (-110) +150 O 46.0 (-110)
Bengals -3.0 (-110) -170 U 46.0 (-110)

The Bengals (5-8, 2-4 away) proved feisty in Week 14 and Jeff Driskel looked a little more comfortable under center. But this is still a team that has lost six straight games, doesn’t have its starting QB or best offensive weapon (AJ Green), and is saddled with arguably the worst defense in the NFL. In sum, the Bengals should not be laying points to anyone, even the Raiders  (3-10, 1-5 away) at home.

Oakland is somehow 2-2 in its last four, just beat the Steelers (24-21), and nearly beat the Chiefs (40-33) the week before. Say what you want about Jon Gruden’s personnel moves, the players he has left are fighting to the finish.

Score Prediction: 27-24 Raiders

Best Bet: Raiders’ moneyline (+150)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Baltimore Ravens

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Buccaneers +8.0 (-115) +300 O 47.0 (-105)
Ravens -8.0 (-105) -360 U 47.0 (-115)

The Buccaneers (5-8, 1-5 away) have actually done a relatively nice job on defense the last three weeks, relative to their early-season woes that is. But this Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore attack presents entirely different problems. Tampa is 30th in DVOA against the run. The Ravens (7-6, 4-2 home) have rushed for at least 198 yards in all four of Jackson’s starts. Meanwhile, their defense remains first in the league in scoring and is the type of unit that has given Jameis Winston his turnover-prone label.

A defensive score helps the desperate Ravens cover.

Score Prediction: 28-17 Ravens

Best Bet: Ravens -8.0 (-105)

Dallas Cowboys vs Indianapolis Colts

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Cowboys +3.0 (-120) +130 O 46.5 (-115)
Colts -3.0 (EVEN) -150 U 46.5 (-105)

The Colts (7-6, 4-2 home) are every bit as good as Dallas (8-5, 2-4 away), have won four straight at home, and six of seven overall. Dallas has won five straight overall but now has to travel for the first time since Week 11. They started the year 0-4 on the road before winning in Philadelphia and Atlanta. The Colts are stiffer competition that both of those teams and I’d have them as slight favorites at a neutral site. Lay the three with Indianapolis at home, especially at even money.

Score Prediction: 28-21 Colts

Best Bet: Colts -3.0 (EVEN)

Detroit Lions vs Buffalo Bills

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Lions +3.0 (-120) +130 O 38.0 (-115)
Bills -3.0 (EVEN) -150 U 38.0 (-105)

The Bills (4-9, 2-4 home) are laying points for a second straight week?? The Lions (5-8, 2-4 away) aren’t good, but they’re better than the Bills, who just lost Sonny Milano on defense. Detroit’s point differential is 71 points better than Buffalo’s on the year. The old adage says to take the points when two bad teams play. Take it one step further here.

Score Prediction: 20-17 Lions

Best Bet: Lions’ moneyline (+120)

Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Packers +5.5 (-115) +205 O 45.0 (-105)
Bears -5.5 (-105) -245 U 45.0 (-115)

If the Bears’ (9-4, 6-1 home) defense can shutdown the Rams in Chicago, they can do the same to this year’s Packers (5-7-1, 0-6 away), who still haven’t won a road game. Aaron Rodgers and company got right in Week 14, but that was against Atlanta’s dismal D (34-20). Chicago will put Rodgers’ record-breaking interception-free streak to the test.

Score Prediction: 27-21 Bears

Best Bet: Bears -5.5 (-105)

Tennessee Titans vs New York Giants

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Titans +2.5 (EVEN) +125 O 42.5 (-110)
Giants -2.5 (-120) -145 U 42.5 (-110)

Go ahead and start buying into the Giants (5-8, 2-4 home) as a respectable football team. They have now won two straight after blowing an 18-3 lead against Philadelphia. The Titans (7-6, 2-5 away) have also won two in a row, but in less impressive fashion. They have been confounding all year, with little rhyme or reason to when they’re going to show up and when they’re going to lay an egg. Generally, though, a lot of the eggs have come on the road.

Score Prediction: 23-17 Giants

Best Bet: Giants -2.5 (-120)

Washington vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Time & Date: 4:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Washington +7.0 (-110) +260 O 36.0 (-110)
Jaguars -7.0 (-110) -310 U 36.0 (-110)

Josh Johnson will start for Washington (6-7, 3-3 away) while Cody Kessler continues to lead the Jacksonville “offense” (4-9, 3-4 home). The only unit I semi-trust here is the Jaguars’ defense, which should put Kessler in decent field position for most of the game. Three Josh Lambo field goals should be enough to cover.

Score Prediction: 18-6 Jaguars

Best Bet: Jaguars -7.0 (-110)

Arizona Cardinals vs Atlanta Falcons

Time & Date: 4:00 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Cardinals +9.0 (-115) +335 O 44.0 (-110)
Falcons -9.0 (-105) -405 U 44.0 (-110)

Atlanta (4-9, 3-4 home) hasn’t scored more than 20 points in five straight games. Meanwhile, their defense has given up at least 22 in five straight. Now you’re asking me to lay nine points with that team? No. I don’t care how bad Arizona (3-10, 2-4 away) looked against Detroit last week. David Johnson can generate enough offense to cover against a porous Falcon D.

Score Prediction: 22-19 Falcons

Best Bet: Cardinals +9.0 (-115)

Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers

Time & Date: 4:05 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Seahawks -6.0 (-105) -260 O 44.0 (-110)
49ers +6.0 (-115) +215 U  44.0 (-110)

The Seahawks (8-5, 4-3 away) have won four in a row and currently occupy the first Wild Card in the NFC, but with the AFC-leading Chiefs coming to town next week, they can’t afford a let down here. Seattle’s run-first offense isn’t conducive to covering big spreads, but less than a touchdown is doable against the 49ers (3-10, 3-3 home), who have lost nine straight in the series and are the third-worst team in the league per DVOA.

Score Prediction: 26-17 Seahawks

Best Bet: Seahawks -6.0 (-105)

New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Time & Date: 4:15 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 16th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Patriots OFF OFF OFF
Steelers OFF OFF OFF

This game will be off the board until Ben Roethlisberger’s status is cleared up.

As far as playoff implications, it’s almost a must-win for the Steelers (7-5-1), who own a slim half-game lead over the Ravens in the AFC North and have a road game with the Saints coming up in Week 16. They’ll be facing a highly motivated Patriots team; New England (9-4) is clinging to the no. 2 seed in the AFC thanks to a head-to-head win over the Texans.

Score Prediction: N/A

Best Bet: N/A

Philadelphia Eagles vs Los Angeles Rams

Time & Date: 8:20 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Eagles +9.0 (-110) OFF O 53.5 (-110)
Rams -9.0 (-110) OFF U 53.5 (-110)

The Rams (11-2, 6-0) are a very safe bet to win at home, but much less of a sure thing when it comes to covering, sitting at just 2-2-2 ATS. The Eagles (6-7, 2-4 away) are only 2-4 ATS on the road, but they ought to have covered last Sunday in a 29-23 OT loss to Dallas as 3.5-point dogs. That would have made them 3-1 ATS in their last four road games. Their season is on life-support and the defendings champs will go down swinging.

Score Prediction: 28-24 Rams

Best Bet: Eagles +9.0 (-110)

New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers

Time & Date: 8:15 PM ET, Sunday, Dec. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Saints -6.5 (-110) -255 O 51.5 (-110)
Panthers +6.5 (-110) +215 U 51.5 (-110)

New Orleans (11-2, 6-1 away) emerged from a six-quarter funk in the second half of last week’s 28-14 win in Tampa, and that’s bad news for the slumping Panthers (6-7, 5-1 home), who have lost five straight and are having to ride a really-quite-injured Cam Newton.

Throw in the fact that the Saints have won three straight and four of the last five in the series, and laying less than a TD with the best team in the league (+164 point differential) becomes very appealing.

Score Prediction: 30-21 Saints

Best Bet: Saints -6.5 (-110)

Locks of the Week

  • Three-team, six-point teaser (+150): Saints (-0.5), Seahawks (PK), Washington/Jaguars (Under 42.0)
  • Lions’ moneyline (+130)
  • Chiefs -3.0 (-130)

Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.

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